Component 3: Principles of joint working

What works well

As well as agreeing a shared vision and values, partnerships that we followed also felt that it was vital to agree how the partnership will work together to achieve its shared goals.

A principles of joint working agreement, is more detailed than a memorandum of understanding and sets the expectations of conduct for all partners involved and enables the partnership to hold each other to account.

When developing these, conversations should cover what is expected from partners, timeframes, who has authority to make decisions on what, and what actions will be taken if partners are not upholding the agreement. These conversations can be tricky and it can be worth getting an experienced external facilitator to help navigate the discussion.

NCVO advice on joint working agreements

Likely positive impacts

Developing and agreeing principles of joint working has many positive impacts, not just for those in the partnership, but for others wishing to work with and engage with them, such as public sector colleagues. This includes:

  • developed and strong relationships
  • clearer understanding of individual and partnership roles and responsibilities
  • smooth and transparent decision making processes mutual respect and value across all parties
  • more cohesive joint working with clear boundaries
  • the creation of more stable and sustainable partnerships.

To realise these benefits, it is important all partners agree and sign up to them. Not having these in place often leads to conflict and the dissolution of partnerships.

Our partnership includes the voluntary sector because they are fundamental to our future success. The sector is embedded in communities and has the ability to bring insight, connection, capacity and innovation to what we do. This is essential in an era when we are joining up care to better meet the mental, physical and social needs of people.

NHS colleague